research study conducted by the Aberdeen Group concludes that companies that
have taken steps to implement a formal risk management system and invest in
safety technologies not only improve plant safety, but realize superior
operational performance and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) as well.
These top manufacturers are achieving these results by blending business
capabilities with adoption of the latest safety technology.
"One of the most important ideas we were able
to confirm from this study is the link between safety and productivity," says
Tim Roback, marketing manager of safety systems, control and visualization, for
"Historically, industry has viewed those as mutually exclusive, but our focus
has been on designing products that help address that with an emphasis on both
safe design as well as operational productivity."
The extensive research study by the
Aberdeen Group shows that the top 20 percent of best-in-class companies, who
had the highest OEE, also had the lowest safety incident rate. The top
companies typically had an OEE on average of 90 percent, and an injury incident
rate of .05 percent. Compare that to the bottom 20 percent of companies with
an OEE of 76 percent and an injury frequency rate of 3 percent, which is sixty
times higher. Top manufacturers were also able to achieve a 2 percent
unscheduled asset downtime rate, versus a 14 percent rate for the laggard group
in the study.
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"For years, we have been educating
manufacturers on how they can use advanced safety automation technologies to
achieve safety while increasing productivity. The Aberdeen study factually
supports this assertion with data across 250 companies; there is a direct
correlation between the manufacturers who have the highest productivity and
also the greatest focus on safety," says Roback.
In addition to safety and
productivity, Rockwell Automation
has expanded its focus to include safety, security and sustainability.
Sustainability comes in the form of reduced scrap, improved energy utilization,
environmental impact and machine operation, based on the way the safety and
control systems are integrated. "We are focusing more intently on safety and
security - the idea that you can't have a safe system if you don't have a
secure system, and how to provide resources to our customers to help them be
safer and more secure," Roback says.
The Aberdeen study also looked at what kind of challenges organizations
are facing when it comes to implementing a safety system. The interesting trend
is that best-in-class companies are not only more mature with safety system
adoption, but they are also challenged with limited skilled resources and transfer
of knowledge about safety systems to new employees. The study found that
implementing a strong risk management strategy and investing in safety
technology are key factors in effectively addressing both safety concerns and
improving productivity performance.